Importance Of Non-verbal Communication For Professionals
Now a day businesses are conducted digitally or over the phone. This has made us become a bit lax in face-to-face interactions. Although the importance of a open and interactive web world is beyond question, we should remember that the most flourishing business relationships are build with personal networking exercises.
However, when it comes to face-to-face communication, many of us do not realize that effectual communication is much more than just words. According to psychologist Albert Mehrabian, only 7 percent of any message is conveyed through words; 55% is done through body language i.e. what one sees is what one believes in and 38% through the communicator’s tone. This staggering 93 percent of all communicated information is expressed non-verbally and expresses much more than any string of words ever could.
Objectives of non-verbal communication –
- Understand the importance of creating the right perception
- Identify traits that should be reflected
- Learn about non verbal signals
- Learn about Verbal phrases and styles of speech
- Apply the knowledge to create a new persona
Components of non-verbal communication –
- Body language
- Eye movement
- Hand/Body Movement
- Appearance – style of dressing & grooming
- Facial Expression
- Personal Space
How do the people we interact with including interviewers perceive us?
- When my hair is not properly tied/combed back: People think I don’t care about myself, what will I care about my job responsibility?
- When I hold my hands tight, across my chest: People think, I am hiding something, and not telling the truth, what will happen in the job?
- When I speak softly: People think that I cannot express, and am not confident, how will I speak to the customers?
Body language is a very vital component of non-verbal communication. Whatever we do with our body parts conveys some message. Here are some quick tips for maintaining right kind of body language –
- Keep your spine straight – while sitting or standing (posture)
- Keep your arms open, do not cross them across your chest
- While standing, do not cross them behind your body, or the front of your body
- Don’t touch any part of your body, esp face.
- Sit all the way back in your seat- not on the edge or on one side
- Keep your palms facing upwards
- Maintain eye contact
- Do not play/fidget with a pen, your sleeve, a book
- Do not keep shaking your hand or your leg
How to show that you are listening?
- Lean in, when they start to talk
- Nod every now and then to indicate you are listening (do not over nod)
- Use words like ‘OK’, ‘Allright’, ‘Yes’ to show that you have understood
To make yourself appear thoroughly professional take care of the following things –
- Style: Western, Indian and Semi
- Colours of the textile
Here are some dos and don’ts on dressing –
- Keep it simple(Clothes, accessories and footwear)
- Choose plain solid colours without many patterns
- See that you are wearing right size
- Smell Right, not strong
- Use a mouth freshner & a deodrant
- Don’t wear sparkly wear unless there is an occasion
- Colours should not be bright all the time
- Tight clothes should be avoided
- Over accessorise
- Wear too much jewellery
- Hand gestures can make or break a communication.
- Keep an open palm gesture while explaining something
- Be conservative about how much you move your arms. While they distract, they can also give the impression of a highly emotional person
Match your expressions with your emotions
- Keep a smile
- When thinking, restrict eye movement
- Don’t raise your eyebrows to much
- Don’t Frown
- Don’t over-smile
- Don’t show extreme negative emotions, even if the questions trigger such a memory. Present the answers in a relaxed and confident manner
Make eye contact, but not an intimidating stare at people. Its important to know the difference. When we make eye contact and smile warmly, we convey a positive perception.
- Extend your open palm firmly
- The web between your thumb and fore finger should connect with the web of the other person’s hand
- Shake the hand twice
- The contact should not last more than 3 secs
- Maintain eye contact while shaking hands
Mind your distance & do not touch
Don’t be standing or sitting too close to anyone. Everyone has different levels of boundaries and personal space. Respect that.
It’s NOT Ok to touch people and talk. Its highly intimate and has no space as a student or as a professional
- Maintaining good dental hygiene
- Maintaining good personal hygiene
- Free of bad breath and body odour
- No strong perfumes
- No onion and garlic before
- No chewing gum/pan masala/candy during the interaction
- No letting out of air… either ways
- No strong smelling hair oils
- Carry a neat cloth handkerchief.. Not a towel napkin
- Handbag of neutral color – like black or brown
- Shoes of a neutral color – like black or brown
- Lipsticks- neutral and soft shades
- Nail polish- neutral and soft shades, no black , blue
- Make sure the nail polish is not chipped
- Your shoes should be cleaned and polished if needed
Here are some aspects of spoken English and what a listener looks for when you speak –
|Clarity : Is the speaker clear? Or are they mumbling their words and speech|
|Volume: Is the speaker loud enough to be heard?|
|Speed: Is the speaker too fast or too slow?|
|Fluency: Is the speech fluent or are there too many pauses and stops?|
|Expression: Is there a change of tone to show change in emotion, or is it a flat tone?|
It’s necessary that we convey a positive image and we can do so by using some positive phrases in our language –
|Used Phrases||Suggested Phrases|
|Ok||Sure, Of course|
|I don’t know…||What I do know is…|
|I am not sure…||What I am sure about is…|
|I am not aware….||Let me check on that…Let me find out.. I will find out more about this|
|Ok..||That’s a great idea, an excellent suggestion|
|Yes||I completely agree, That’s perfect|
|I apologize , I am extremely sorry||I am sorry|
|Why||Could you please tell me why|
|Can I||May I|
|Correct me if I am wrong||Help me clarify what I know.|
Non-verbal communication helps people in following ways –
Emphasize what is said in words
Convey message about our emotional state
Characterize the relationship between people
Offer feedback to the listener
Regulate the flow of communication
Armed with these non-verbal communication skills you can not only succeed in your professional life but can build strong and long-term personal relations as well!!
All the best!!
Author: Baishali Mukherjee
Profile- An independent writer and journalist for last nine years; presently working with Education World, Entrepreneur India, Scrabbl.com and Stoodnt.com. Worked as the content head for four books and have articles and features published in leading print and digital media spaces.
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